Philly hotels see influx of business travelers

June 21, 2010 7:47:15 AM PDT
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Business travelers are once again clustering at the front desks and in the conference rooms of Philadelphia hotels, part of a nationwide surge that analysts call an unofficial indicator of an improving economy.Hotel managers in Philadelphia's Center City say the turnaround in corporate travel has been faster and more robust than they expected. Occupancy and revenue per available room were up 8.3 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, in May.

Paul Schwartz, general manager of the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel, says the lobby after 5 p.m. is "teeming with corporate types after they get out of meetings." He says the hotel is booked solid three days in the middle of this week due largely to business travelers, and they are all short-term bookings - which he called "unheard of."

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's in West Chester, says travel is one of the first things businesses cut in recessions. He says it's also one of the first things they resume in economic recoveries.